I woke up to a text photo of the beautiful gift basket that you bought to bring to your host tonight for Rosh Hashana (Thanks Tammy for hosting Talia and a friend!) You are so grown up.
You texted me later in the day to tell me you had a bellyache, maybe from the water at the hotel you stayed in over the weekend. You seemed very far away and I know you are unhappy when you don't feel well.
Your seat at our dining room table has been empty for 2 weeks. Dinner is usually the time I notice you are gone. You and Elizabeth aren't competing over who can talk. I think she misses you- she doesn't like all the attention from us.
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is think about the time difference and if it's 7:00 am here, it's 2:00 pm in Israel. You've practically had your whole day! Then I check facebook and instagram to see if your school has posted any new photos so maybe I can catch a glimpse of you. Sometimes we text. It might be as simple as a "hi Mommy" or we have a fun exchange back and forth about what you've been doing. Whoever says goodbye, writes "143", our family code for "I love you". When I didn't see your 143 text the other day, you wrote, "no 1432?", which is how the other responds, meaning I love you too. It made my heart sing. I texted back "Of course 1432".
We went to Nana's for Rosh Hashana dinner tonight. When we got there at 5:00 pm Boston time, you were already heading home from your meal at Tammy's friends in Jerusalem. It was midnight. You said you really liked her friends, that you felt a little better but you were too tired to facetime. I'm glad you were feeling better. I guess rice and bread for dinner was a good idea. When we lit the candles and I gave everyone a blessing, I actually got a little choked up because you weren't there. There was no empty seat for you, but you were definitely missing.
You missed the argument over whether people could have chicken served in their chicken soup, you missed groaning when we did the long prayer over the challah (only Liron and I did it), you missed delicious challah from OMG that Daddy got from the farmers market, you missed being with your cousins (and they missed you), you missed Nana's chocolate mousse, you missed Nana telling her story about ordering from the trash can at Dunkin Donuts (again!), you missed Aunty Jami knocking lots of things over, you missed the yard sale that Nana had going on the 3rd floor (Liron took 2 things and Sam found a t-shirt from Disney in 2006 that still fits her), you missed Nana dragging Daddy and cousin David to the basement to take home paper goods for the 4th of July, and you missed a quiet ride home in the pouring rain.
Even though I miss you, I know that you are having an amazing experience. Only 16 years old and you are living and going to school in a foreign country. Speaking a different language and using Israel as a living classroom. The Director of your program at Alexander Muss High School sends an update every couple of days that tells us about what you are doing, what you are learning, and how your "tiyulim" (field trips) are related to what you are learning. I love that it's sequential, from the beginning of Judaism until today.
In 17 days, I get to visit you, see your dorm and your school, spend a Shabbat in Tel Aviv with you, take you out to dinner, celebrate Simchat Torah in Jerusalem with you, travel and visit friends and family and just be together. I'm counting down the days!